I have interviewed quite a number of menopausal women in the last ten years and very few have been as negative about menopause as the new documentary, Hot Flash Havoc. It was just released this summer and was screened at the Aspen FilmFest 2010 this week, and from the writeups in the Aspen Times and Snowmass Sun this past weekend, this documentary is definitely a winner.
If you like to think about your normal processes as problematic and in need of fixing, that is. Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t awful signs and symptoms that individual women have to find a better way of dealing with and that we shouldn’t busy ourselves with finding ways to make bothersome signs and symptoms dissipate (this is indeed an important activity), but the sense I get from reading all of the writeups of the film and watching the various trailers for the film on YouTube is that Hot Flash Havoc (and its filmmaker, Heidi Houston) define menopause as a crisis that is wrecking middle-aged women’s lives everywhere.
In addition, the entire film seems to be advocating a gentler critique of WHI results and for women to increase their usage of hormone therapies. Overall, I feel like this film moves us backwards rather than forwards in our search to help women answer questions about their own midlife experiences. Houston is quoted in interviews as saying things like “let’s fix our women” by helping them “manage menopause.” Seriously? I feel like I’m reading Robert Wilson’s 1966 work about keeping women “feminine forever.”
Speaking of which, men’s desires and needs seem to figure prominently in this film, in that menopausal women are portrayed as doing damage to men. Can’t we move on from ideas like this?
And I’m not the only one critiquing this film, by the way. Other bloggers hate it too. This is NOT a film worth supporting at all, unless we believe that menopause is a terrible thing, and a condition that needs to be fixed.
I have my critiques of Menopause! The Musical, but compared to Hot Flash Havoc, Menopause! The Musical is great!!!!